For The Writer Who Makes A Wish List
A publishing contract? An agent? Maybe a couple acceptances from those magazines and ezines you've been querying?
Whatever your writer’s heart desired, you may have written it all down on a nifty, highly organized list. That’s what I do. And in December, I pull out my list to see how I've done.
So, friends, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to making a list. The good news is that you have this nifty, highly organized list of everything you hoped to achieve in 2012. Everything you wanted to accomplish is right there, conveniently spelled out in black and white (though I’m partial to colored ink pens, so for me, teal and white). And look! You can check off this hope, this dream, this wish! Whee!
But now you must face the bad news. Because there is also everything you wanted to accomplish and didn't, conveniently spelled out in black (or teal) and white.
So checking the list twice is not always a fun activity. In fact, it can be a rather depressing activity. Fortunately, I have a cheer-myself-up activity: I read W. B. Yeat’s poem, To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Nothing. (Yes, I know it doesn't sound cheery right now, but bear with me. It gets better.)
Now, I have no idea who William’s friend was who needed a boost; it’s likely that this poem was meant to cheer a comrade in a political context. But I've always thought it would work well for those of us in the arts. I know this poem always makes me feel better, especially the last bit: Be secret and exult, because of all things known that is most difficult.
I do exult, eventually, in spite of failures. I know that though long, hair-pulling hours at the keyboard may not be rewarded today, they will bear fruit someday. I know that if I keep pushing myself, and keep making those lists, and checking off the small successes, at some point, the bigger successes will come. I believe that persistence pays off, even if now, it appears my work has come to nothing.
So check your list. And don’t cry or pout. Be secret and exult, friends. You will succeed, as long as you keep working at your writing.
~Cathy C. Hall